Have you ever played peekaboo with an infant or toddler? I love to hear that gurgle of laughter every time the person hiding appears. Why does this game appeal so much to young children? Adults know that when someone ducks out of view do, he has not disappeared forever, but for the young child, it truly is a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” When something is gone from sight, it no longer exists for the child. Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget believed that the development of object permanence, or the ability to understand that objects exist even when not seen, is one of an infant’s primary developmental accomplishments. Based on his observations Piaget determined that infants learn about their world through their senses – vision, touch, taste, sound, and movement. The direct aim of the material is to help children develop their sense of object permanence. It also indirectly helps them develop focus and concentration and gives them practice developing fine motor skills through the whole-hand grasp. When presenting the object permanence box, remember to keep your presentation short. Very few words are necessary other than naming the box and the ball, although you may also choose to introduce the words “in” and “out”. Presentation of the Montessori Object Permanence Box 1. Put the work mat in place and put the object permanence box on the work mat so it will be in front of the child. Encourage the child to help. 2. Sit facing the child with the work mat between you. 3. Name the box and the ball: “This is the box. This is the ball.” 4. Slowly and deliberately place the ball in the hole. 5. When the ball rolls to a stop in the tray, smile and picks it up. 6. Repeat the action. 7. Invite the child to place the ball in the hole. 8. Once the child begins putting the ball in the hole, quietly move aside and allow her to work undisturbed. 9. When finished, invite the child to put the materials away on a low shelf.
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